Wed, Nov 04, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Kinmen aims to increase tourism

DRAWING CROWDS The county chief said that investors and property developers in Hong Kong, China and the US had expressed interest in working on the BOT project

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Land Development Corp chairman Chiu Fu-sheng, second left, and Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng, second right, pose for a picture after signing a 50-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement that aims to turn Kinmen into a tourism hot spot.

PHOTO: WANG LIANG-YUN, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan Land Development Corp (台灣土地開發公司) yesterday signed a 50-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement with the Kinmen County Government, promising to turn the former war-torn island into an international tourism and leisure spot in five years with an initial budget of NT$3.69 billion (US$113.3 million).

“We hope that when the project is completed, it will bring in tens of billions [of New Taiwan dollars] in economic benefits to Kinmen,” Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) told a signing ceremony.

The project will create 1,500 job opportunities, more than 60 percent of which will be reserved for local residents, he said.

That excludes workers that will be employed during the project’s construction, the land developer said.

The BOT project covers a 7.45 hectare lot 200m north of Kinmen Shanyi Airport, where a hotel, exhibition and conference halls, bonded warehouses, recreation and shopping malls, as well as a duty-free shop will be built starting next year and completed in three to five years.

Taiwan Land Development chairman Chiu Fu-sheng (邱復生) said the entire project could cost up to NT$10 billion, 50 percent of which would come from company funds and the remaining 50 percent would be raised from investors at home and abroad.

Chiu said institutional investors or property developers in Hong Kong, China and the US had expressed interest in taking part in the project. He did not elaborate, citing confidentiality.

Seven retailers, including duty-free Ever Rich DFS Corp (昇恆昌), Hsin Tung Yang Co (新東陽) and local specialty shops such as Sheng Zu Food and Beverage Corp (聖祖食品) and knife manufacturer Master Wu Co (金合利鋼刀), have agreed to set up outlets in the leisure district there, the developer said.

Taiwan Land Development president Andy Lai (賴昭輝) said that the soon-to-be-built hotel would be a three or five-star establishment with 300 to 500 rooms.

He estimated that the 50-year project could contribute a minimum of NT$2.4 billion in tax revenue to the county government, while potential tourism revenue could reach at least NT$2 billion per year.

If the estimated 1.7 million visitors traveling via the “small three links” — with the number forecast to rise to 2 million in two years — were to spend NT$1,000 each, the county government could get a revenue boost of NT$2 billion per year, he said.

Moreover, if 1 percent to 10 percent of 21 million tourists traveling to Xiamen, China, could extend their trip to include Kinmen at a cost of NT$10,000, the county government could further see an income of between NT$2.1 billion to NT$21 billion each year, he added.

Lee said Kinmen now attracts about 500,000 tourists per year, including 150,000 Chinese tourists since late last year, including 50,000 who stayed overnight.

High-quality kaoliang liquor, which is sold for 300 yuan (US$44) in Kinmen and 1,188 yuan in China, is popular among Chinese tourists.

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